Advice for dealing with two broody hens

DMJ1123

Chirping
May 2, 2019
32
26
59
Massachusetts
First off, I know the best way to break a broody hen is to isolate them in a pet cage in the coop run for a few days elevated so the air can circulate under them. I'd like to avoid that due to space/safety issues. Good news is I am in the process of building and expanding so that shouldn't be an issue a month or two from now.

I started with blocking off the nesting boxes at night. As expected, they didn't roost but simply nested down on the coop floor instead and continued to stay there throughout the day when the boxes were still blocked.

I've taken it a step further and now I'm actually closing off the hen house during the day. It's closed from sunrise to sunset. It's been about 4-5 days of this. Every couple days I have been opening up the door during the day to check their status and the two broody ones immediately go inside and stay. The obvious issue is that I am also preventing the rest of the flock from accessing the nesting boxes during the day to lay. So they are obviously just laying in the run.

For the sake of the rest of the flock I'm thinking I should just disturb the broody ones as much as I can during the day until they break and allow business as usual otherwise.

Thoughts?
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
33,030
27,592
1,077
St. Louis, MO
So you understand now that an elevated cage is the way to go and your method isn't working
Disturbing them won't work. Do it the right way. This is the technique people have used for hundreds or even thousands of years.
As long as ;they can plunk themselves down onto solid ground, they will stay broody.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,335
596
USA
Do you need the broodies to start laying again?

If you don't really need the eggs, you could just let the broodies set on fake eggs.

I know people tell of broodies starving to death, but it seems to be fairly rare. If you can take them off once or twice a day for a good meal (or feel their crops and find that they already ate), they should be fine.

Shadrach recently posted in a different thread about getting broodies to eat:
Broody hens go into a trance like state when they are sitting on a clutch. You need to make sure the trance is properly broken. Some hens are quite hard to get out of it.
She needs to stand for a start. Not just the half hover they can do when eating; fully stand.
They tend not to poop unless fully awake and don't eat properly either. You know when they're fully awake because at some point they will jump in the air and make a war like scream flapping their wings violently in the process.
My advice would be to shut her out of the coop for at least twenty minutes and wake her up. Make her stand and walk and if you have an area of ground suitable for a dust bath, dump her in it.
If you have other hens then put her in with them. This should make her fluff up and cluck incessantly. She may get bullied by the other hens and this means she will have to move or defend herself. This too will make sure she is fully awake.
It can take a few minutes to get a broody hen awake. Sometimes you need to keep lifting them into the stand position. They often sit a the bowl and eat a bit. Once they are properly awake they will generally poop and then eat properly so make sure she has food availible until you let her return to her nest.

(I don't think I've quoted from one thread into a different one before--hopefully I got it to work right.)
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,335
596
USA
First off, I know the best way to break a broody hen is to isolate them in a pet cage in the coop run for a few days elevated so the air can circulate under them. I'd like to avoid that due to space/safety issues. Good news is I am in the process of building and expanding so that shouldn't be an issue a month or two from now.

Can you do cages in the run instead of in the coop? Or outside the run? Or in the garage? They need shade from the sun, food, and water; plus they need to be safe from predators. Sometimes it's possible to provide those things in a different place, if inside the coop isn't convenient.
 

DMJ1123

Chirping
May 2, 2019
32
26
59
Massachusetts
Can you do cages in the run instead of in the coop? Or outside the run? Or in the garage? They need shade from the sun, food, and water; plus they need to be safe from predators. Sometimes it's possible to provide those things in a different place, if inside the coop isn't convenient.

The run would be a bit tight. I do have a shed that would work but I have concerns about separating from her from the rest of the flock? I've always heard people say, "Put it in the run so they can be with the rest of the flock."
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,395
12,335
596
USA
The run would be a bit tight. I do have a shed that would work but I have concerns about separating from her from the rest of the flock? I've always heard people say, "Put it in the run so they can be with the rest of the flock."

The hen won't like being alone, but she won't like the cage anyway.
She might have to fight her way back into the pecking order later--but she'd have to do that anyway, if she takes a long time out being broody. And the other chickens will not entirely forget her in just a few days.

If the shed is what you've got to work with, I would use it. It's probably less total disruption to just get the broodies broken and be done with it for now.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,860
30,454
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Since I have no idea what your set up looks like...

Can you cage them near the run during the day, then when it's dark, put them on the roosts, knowing that you'll need to grab them from nests next morning and re-cage.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom